Week Before Final Indian Fighter Draw, Gripen Makes 2nd Price Pitch

I’m willing to be corrected on this, and I don’t know if anyone’s noticed, but Gripen is the only aircraft from among the four jets that were eliminated in the MMRCA competition, that still advertises and makes a public pitch. In August, three months after Saab was among four vendors knocked out of the race, it placed an advertisement in magazines talking about cost — a direct snipe at the high reputed price of the two aircraft the Indian government had selected for the final toss-up — the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale. And now, just about a week before the MoD opens commercial bids, Gripen had the advertisement you see above, in magazines (I saw this one in Vayu).

This second post-elimination ad hinges on similar themes — high technology, but not at unwieldy cost. “Leaders must also take responsibility. There can not be too heavy a price for leadership. The Gripen IN’s low life cycle cost makes it a responsible leader through its lifetime.”

34 thoughts on “Week Before Final Indian Fighter Draw, Gripen Makes 2nd Price Pitch”

  1. If India did not have a program like Tejas, there was sense in considering the Gripen. However, it will be unpatriotic to consider the Gripen once the roadmap for the Tejas has been finalised. There will however be people who will try and nullify the hard won capabilities of domestic bodies – like an ex-IAF expert who called Gripen a 'medium' aircraft.

  2. To Gripen: For use as a light combat fighter, we do have our own Tejas. We don't need another fighter in it's category. So bye bye. oops, bye from India but get ready to face the Tejas in competition worldwide.

  3. But as per vigilance guidelines,once if a vendor is eliminated on valid grounds,its all over for the vendor!!! Amen!! gripen !!!RIP !!!gripen radar is nineties vintage !!!

  4. Gripen is beautiful, but it has been eliminated and Tejas-2 is coming and public do not purchase multirole fighter jets in India, so many things.

    The lower initial and running costs of Gripen were never in doubt earlier also, but must have been superseded by better concerns. So now it may be impossible for Gripen to return on this turf.

  5. Actually, I think this is an old ad. Has appeared in the India Today and Vayu a bunch of times. In fact, has been there for over a year, if my memory serves me right. So, there is nothing new on this. But that still begs the question as to why Gripen is 'still' at it in the Indian market. I think a couple of things are clear: The Tejas is dead as a dodo as an option for covering the 19 squadron gap that the MiG-21s will leave behind what with the 'postponement' by a year and the LCA Mk-II being still something of a paper tiger. And you really cant have an air force without a single engine. So, time to start the Single Engine race, possibly?

  6. Old ad. What's the big deal here? Plus, there is always that cost thing on MMRCA, no? How long is the IAF MoD going to swagger around claiming 'we got the money' to buy any darn thing… either you cut back on the Sukhois or the MMRCA numbers or junk the LCA Mk-I and head straight for Mk-II.

  7. I am afraid that Gripen has been the choice of the media, the uninformed public and small powers. Every time there is a bidding process for a fighter program, the story is the same: PR guys from Saab come and try to reduce everything to cost per flying hour or per life cycle, as if these are the only variables involved in assessing the performance of a fighter aircraft. When you start to compare specs, you realize that the Gripen is either the weakest fighter produced in Europe or at best an F-16 replacement, but with a smaller range and a smaller payload (actually between an F-16 and a Gripen, I'll choose the former).
    Please India, choose the Rafale or the Eurofighter and put Saab out of the fighter manufacturing business. I am writing from Romania, where Saab has put a lot of money into media campaigns and every journalist, from those who got joyrides on the Gripen down to those who don't know the difference between a fighter and the bomber, chastise the government for not going for Swedish offer.


  8. Cant read the copy too clearly. But there is a point on cost and life cycle cost the way oil is going… by the way what's with all these European names commenting on your posts? Since Rafale doesnt talk, is it the BAE EADS lot sitting guarding their turf?

  9. You know whats strange about the whole thing: the comments! They hardly seem to be written by passing readers. I guess if companies are still fighting it out through ads and comments on livefist, the MMRCA is far from over, isnt it. But not exactly very sure what is keeping the Gripen and the others interested and the shortlisted lot so panicky that they have to keep posting on something that shouldnt really have done more than raise a few eyebrows and a little 'WTF?'

  10. Shiv, how come you missed featuring the Chinese fighter exploding in midair during an airshow a couple of days back? Killed a pilot too. It's been co-developed by Pakistan.

  11. Hi Shiv, kindly feature the China airshow crash of the JH-7 that exploded in mid-air a few days ago. Must have been spectacular!

  12. lmao… and now you have a Romanian writing in impeccable English! Love Livefist for the sheer number of company hacks that spend time fighting each other on the comments.. seriously, old ad, so what's the angst?.. and very interested in the China fighter.. I think there is a couple of vids up.

  13. Dear Saab,

    I am a great fan of the Gripen, but I must come in here to enlighten you about a few things.

    Respectfully, there is no way on earth that the Indian government will order the Gripen, for the following reasons:

    i) The Gripen was found technically uncompliant, and therefore if the govt were to choose it would be admitting that they dont mind inducting an aircraft which was found to be technically uncompliant. It just would not go down.

    ii) Two, by choosing the two heavy Euro canards, the IAF has indicated its preference for twin engine and acceptability of higher weight class.

    iii) If there is any hitch in the process, then there is absolutely no way on hell that they will back down and award contract to any of the eliminees by default. That would be a breach of due process. They would need to scrap the entire tender and start over from scratch. In which case, yes, Gripen would be considered afresh.

    iv) The LCA-Tejas project is in its final stages of clearance and induction. It will be followed by a Mark-2 version which will be an even better aircraft. In terms of capabilities, the Tejas Mark-2 will be only slightly inferior to the Gripen, and with some Israeli gear, it will possibly be better.

    I am only saying this because I do not want your fine company to waste money on such advertisements. Good luck in other programmes. In India, it is sayonara.


  14. @Hari Sadu

    There are quite a lot of Romanians able to write in impeccable English. I am no company hack, I am just someone who's passionate about aviation and concerned about the future of Romanian military aviation. Romania is still using vintage MiG-21s (although updated) as its mainstay fighter.


    I have been following the MMRCA competition closely and I would like to know what was actually non-compliant with the Gripen IN (other than being basically a paper air plane)? I know something about the Raven radar being found non-compliant with the Indian tender.

  15. We actually need an aircraft for home defence possessing low operating costs,always being ready for a scramble. Even if we go for the Typhoon or the Rafale, which are,of course,having higher payload capacity and higher range,a lighter aircraft would be definitely required to increase flexibility in operations(eg.- for Close air support role). This light aircraft would either be the LCA or the Gripen.
    The LCA project has always been quite uncertain although it is making us self-reliant. As of now, the LCA cannot definitely survive in a battle because of its poor manoeuvrability click here. We have to wait for the LCA-Mk-2, which is yet to be designed, developed, manufactured and tested. It is a fact that the mark 2 will not be available for our Air Force anytime before 2017.
    Through the MMRCA project our government is also looking forward for a complete technology tranfer which is likely to give a booster for the LCA and the AMCA project.
    The MiG-21s also need to be replaced in time. To reiterate, the LCA will only be available by 2017. An aircraft like the Gripen is very much necessary.

  16. Heads up: This advertisement is not a new one. It has been in print for a while now. My post stands, because Gripen is the only MMRCA contender that continues to advertise its product after being eliminated from the competition. Makes it interesting.

  17. I agree with the comments of Shashank H R about Tejas maneuverability.

    Tejas Mk1 lighter than Gripen and still less maneuverable, How some DRDO says that Tejas is very agile aircraft.

  18. Gripen has a fair chance to make it till the end…. the final decision is not yet made…. both EFtyphoon and Rafale are expensive to buy and maintain… not to mention the spares dilemma during wartime…

    Gripen can be cheaper and effective for homeland defence … can take off from small roads too…

    I think the Gripen is very close to the Mirage 2000 in terms of size and capabilites or even better…

  19. Yeah Gripen has one clear benefit that it has more of a strike element which can be utilized against Pukistan sponsored terrorist camps. Though I equally love Typhoon too. Anything other than Gripen, F-16. Mig-35 is WIN-WIN.

  20. It's an interesting choice to select the F-16 over the Gripen despite Gripens NG:s greater combat radius, lower wing load and ability to supercruise.

    I am sure your an important policy maker in Romania…

  21. @George Visan
    You claim you're "just someone who's passionate about aviation and concerned about the future of Romanian military aviation", yet you use arguments as if you were a computer-playing teen.

    And if you really were concerned about the Romanian military aviation, you should really hope that the Gripen is your next choice. Seeing as the F-16 is almost 40% more expensive to maintain, almost two decades older, has poorer maneuverability and lacks many "small state features", it would be a catastrophical choice for Romania. Just take the Czech air force for an example. They've had absolutely fantastic results using the Gripen.

    During 2009 they took part in NATO QRA, Quick Readiness Alert, over the Baltic countries. With only 14 Gripen aircraft in the Air Force they managed not only to have two aircraft plus one spare in high alert over the Baltic Sea. At the same time they had two more aircraft plus one spare in NATO QRA over the Czech Republic! The aircraft in the Baltic QRA performed more Aplha Alerts than any other NATO country that has taken part in the Baltic QRA. This is good example of the availablility and easy maintenance of the Gripen. The German Air Force took over after the Czech Republic with their new Eurofighters. They could however not get their aircraft working after landing so they asked the Czech to keep their Gripen at the base for another day. A few days later the Eurofighters were replaced with old F-4 Phantoms!

    In 2010 the 211 squadron won the Tiger Meet Trophy as best squadron, when entering with the Gripens for the first time. This clearly show that the squadron know how to use their aircraft and that they and their aircraft are fully NATO-compatible.

    This at a very little cost compared to the other european canard fighters. If you look at the NG, it has a greater maximum range than any of the other fighters, it can, just like the C/D Gripens, supercruise and the NG carries a both varied and big payload.

    How about 2 IRIS-T, 4 Meteors, 4 GBU-49, 8 GBU-39 and a LITENING pod, is that a bad payload? With the GBU-39 SDB, the Gripen would be able to carry 16 of these together with 4 Meteors and 2 IRIS-T. That will give you massive firepower.

    Or if you want range, you could always use 2 IRIS-T, 4 Meteors, 8 GBU-39's and 2 external 450 gallon fuel tanks.

    Add that firepower to an RCS which is smaller than that of the Rafale and an IR/Heat signature which matches the Rafales and an AESA that's similar to that of the Eurofighter, you get a just as good fighter as the other European canards, but at half the price. Maybe even a third?

    As for India, I believe they need a cost-effective fighter. The Tejas delays and lack of performance is the reason why the M-MRCA was initiated in the first place, thus you really want a similar concept to complement it. Gripen is the most cost-effective fighter, it would do a great job of retiring the MiG-21, it would be able to be on better stand-by time than any of the other fighter jets in the M-MRCA and it could be used on unconventional air fields. Everything India needs. Plus, the C/D Gripens have an air-air edge over the F-16's they've practiced together with, so the Pakistan F-16's, JF-17's and J-10's won't be of any concern.

    It's a shame that the Gripens AESA got cut for reasons similar to the other European canards which made the elimination, and that the Gripens triumph-card is in its economical advantages which was in round 2.

    To be honest, it's really amazing that Saab has managed to sell any aircrafts at all abroad since there is so little political back-up from the Swedish Government.

  22. @Patrick
    1. Again the issue of cost and cost-effectiveness. Around 260 Gripens have been built while 4200+ F-16s have exited the production facilities of Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. Of 260 Gripens built around 170 are operational after almost 15 years of service with 4 air forces. Out of 4200 F-16s built and delivered 3000 are still operational after 30-35 of service. It is hard for me to accept that Gripen is far cheaper to operate than the F-16 given the fact Saab does not benefit from the effects of economies of scale. Is like saying that Rolls Royce is more cost effective than Ford.
    2. The Romanian Air Force conducted a thorough analysis of the fighters available on the market between 2005 and 2008. According to their findings the F-16 was the most effective and affordable solution for replacing the Mig-21.
    3. Saab offered Romania only 24 or 48 Gripen C/Ds. The Gripen NG/E/F was never offered to Romania. Compared to the F-16, the Gripen C/D offers less range and less payload. Faced with a similar offer Poland chose the F-16.
    4. The Romanian Early Warning and GCI system is based on US radars: FPS-117 and AN/TPS-79 R Gap Filler. Romanian pilots have trained with the US Air Force and have flown the F-16 on many occasions. It has also been found that transitioning from MiG-21 to the F-16, is cheaper and easier than thought, because of the Lancer upgrade performed on MiG in the 1990s. Given these factors it will be odd to choose the Swedish fighter.
    5. From the operational standpoint the Gripen is still an unknown quantity. In almost 15 years of service it has never seen real combat. In Libya Gripen's role was limited only to enforcing the no fly zone (which was never challenged by the Libyan Air Force) and to fly recce missions. Of course there were political reasons for these rules of engagement, nonetheless I don't think it helped the sales pitch too much.
    6. Strategic considerations. The United States will deploy in Romania elements of its missile defense system. Romania values its relationship with the United States in terms of security far more than any other foreign political commitment. Why should we choose the Swedes to modernize our air force? What do they bring do the table in terms of security that is better and more effective than what the Unite States is offering to us?
    7. NATO interoperability. In NATO there are only two operators of Gripen fighters – Hungary and the Czech Republic. The rest operate the F-16 or European top of the line fighters (Rafale and Eurofighter). In an Article 5 scenario Romania will benefit from NATOs integrated logistics network that support the F-16. You quote the Czech and Hungarian experience to validate your preference for the Gripen, nonetheless the Czech prime-minister said that their Swedish aircraft are not as interoperable with NATO as previously thought.
    8. You talk about stealth. I think when comparing 4th and 4.5th generation aircraft stealth is a moot issue. When you start hanging missiles, bombs and fuel tanks on Gripen, Rafale or Eurofighter their stealth characteristics become irrelevant. You want stealth than F-35 or PAK-FA are the answer.
    10. Obsolescence. Well the Swedish air force said that by 2024 the Gripen C/D will become obsolete. If Romania were to buy the Gripen or the F-16 the end result will be the same – in 10-12 years it will be obsolete. And I guess that Gripen E/F, if it ever leaves the drawing board, will still be inferior in 2024 to the F-35 or the PAK-FA. Better go for the F-16, conserve resources, rebuild the economy and than in 2024 buy the F-35. It is a less risky choice for Romania.

  23. I agree economics of scale is important. That is why Scania possibly couldn't produce cost efficient trucks like major MAN which is a far larger truck maker…

    Oddly enough, they do manage to achieve this by cost efficient production lines :P.

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